Monday, November 27, 2017

Year 1: Week 20

Our composer this term is Tchaikovsky... because I knew we would be seeing The Nutcracker. Gemma was thoroughly absorbed. I thought it was pretty cool that we got to see the girl who played the Sugarplum Fairy three years ago when she played Clara.

In addition to this term's songs, Gemma is also practicing all of the songs for this year's Christmas pageant. In piano, Gemma is continuing to work on Alouette, Pastorale, and Ode to Joy.

In geography, we read about The Beaver and The Mahogany Tree, and located Honduras and the Bay of Honduras on the map. In history, we're in the 4th and 5th centuries BC, and our reading this week was The Sword of Damocles, The Retreat of the Ten Thousand, and - from Hillyer's Art History - April Fool's Pictures. In Natural History, we read about dead nettle and pea flowers, and more about sticklebacks; Gemma also got her first issue of Nature Friend and is enjoying that. In math, Gemma completed a chapter in Life of Fred, as well as some pages in Mathematical Reasoning.

We went to see The Man Who Invented Christmas. It's about Charles Dickens writing A Christmas Carol, and Gemma was enthralled the entire movie, asked to read A Christmas Carol, and asked for a quill and ink so she could write like Charles Dickens.

We went to Gemma's CC community's Christmas party...

...and an Advent lunch at church.

In literature and poetry...
We read 3 more pages of Lamb's As You Like It. Gemma memorized "Corn" from Nature in Verse, and read several poems from that book. Her fable was The Crow and the Pitcher, and her fairy tale was The Master-Maid.

I left The Master-Maid bookmarked for my husband to read aloud to Gemma. When I got home from work, he remarked that he wasn't sure what the point was. Here was my response (which is only about the very beginning of the fairy tale, and which shouldn't be explicitly told to a child):

The King's son is like Adam, and the giant is like God. The King's son is the giant's servant, as Adam is God's servant. The giant gives the King's son a job, the same way that God gives Adam the job of working and keeping the garden.

The giant is a kind master, expecting his servant to do his job well, and to obey him and resist temptation of going into other rooms, in the same way that God tells Adam he can eat from any of the trees except for one. The punishment for giving into the temptation to go into the other rooms is, the giant says, death, the same way that Adam's punishment for eating the forbidden fruit is death.

Gemma drew another princess from Draw 1-2-3...

And she put this on the refrigerator...

She decorated her dollhouse for Christmas.
She made gifts by wrapping unifix cubes in origami paper.

She chose Van Gogh's First Steps, After Millet as her picture for picture study. While she was studying the picture, I asked her some questions to help her describe the scene using more than colors and concrete nouns...
  • What is each person doing?
  • Why do you think he/she is doing that?
  • What do you think he/she was doing right before this moment?
  • Why do you think so?
This "week" was actually 11 days, and what a lovely 11 days they were. 😊

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Year 1: Week 19


Masterly inactivity: ✔️

My husband read to Gemma about sticklebacks (from The Burgess Seashore Book), and we watched a YouTube video of a male stickleback building a nest. My husband also read Gemma a chapter about members of the rose family from Plant Life in Field and Garden.

We got a giant amaryllis bulb at Trader Joe's, and are enjoying watching it grow.



At Grandma & Poppa's, Gemma discovered this very long green slug with a fan-shaped head. I looked it up and it's a hammerhead slug - the world's largest flatworm. Nature study: ✔️

Gemma wrote the student creed for jiujitsu as her copywork.


She drew an Indian princess (Draw 1-2-3: Princesses by Freddie Levin).

Reading: Our Bible passage was "The Child in the Temple," from Luke 2:25-32. We started Lamb's "As You Like It." Our current free reads are Little House on the Prairie and The Magician's Nephew; I left those two at home, so our free reads on vacation were Saint George and the Dragon (which we finished), and The Year of Miss Agnes (in progress). One of the books Gemma read this "week" was The BFG, which she loved.

Math: Gemma did a couple of pages of Mathematical Reasoning and completed a chapter in LOF Liver.

History: We completed The Beauty of Athens, and will complete The Death of Socrates and Architecture ch 5 in the next couple of days.

I got to take Gemma to CC for the last day of the first semester, so I got to help her assemble her body poster.





We went ice skating.




We also went to a trampoline park.



There are all sorts of things I'm leaving out, like dance class, piano practice, etc., and things that will happen in the next couple of days, but I'm going to end this post with this...

Grandma taught Gemma how to make a pour painting and a swipe painting. After priming her canvases, Gemma chose which colors she wanted to use.

She stirred in flow medium...

...and added silicone.

Next, my mom helped Gemma pour each of the colors into one large cup. There is a special way of doing this (white has to be poured first, paints need to be poured from up high, etc.).

They placed the canvas on the cup, and carefully turned the canvas over.





They put the canvas in the plastic pet pool my mom uses specifically for painting projects, and lifted the cup.

After tilting the canvas so the paint flowed and covered all of it, it was time to torch it. Here is Gemma playing with fire...

And here is her finished painting...

My mom also taught her how to do a swipe painting.

If you were at a loss for what to buy your six year old for Christmas, might I suggest their very own creme brûlée torch...

Gemma's finished swipe painting...


Sunday, November 5, 2017

Year 1: Week 18

Here is Gemma, age 6, at a friend's birthday party.





My hat's (and tiara's) off to the mom who hosted this party. She put together dragon, pirate, and fairy dress up gear in a "cave" and a "fairy house," and let the guests loose with scavenger hunt bags. They hunted for skeleton keys, dragons' eyes, and pixie dust, and after they'd found their treasures, they continued to play make believe. As party favors, the guests got to take home their costumes. Gemma has since worn her costume to Trader Joe's, and her fairy skirt to ballet.

Here is Gemma at Temescal Canyon, stringing  line, from which to hang watercolor leaves.





The Draw 1-2-3 lesson I assigned Gemma this week was an Egyptian princess. She decided, she said, to draw the princess with curly hair.

We finished reading Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Our fairy tale this week was about Prince Ahmed and the Fairy Paribanou (from Blue Fairy Book).

We finished Lamb's The Tempest.

In history, we read A Laconic Answer, as well as a chapter in On the Shores of the Great Sea about Ancient Greece, and a chapter in Hillyer's volume about Sculpture about Ancient Greece.

We took another look at Van Gogh's Bedroom. I had never paid attention to the way the unfamiliar colors make us pay more attention to the familiar objects, or the way the right side of the picture is higher than the left side, the way the mirror in the upper left corner is the lightest part of the painting, or the way none of the objects have shadows and all of the objects are outlined.

There were other things - sol-fa, foreign language songs, piano, poetry, cursive, Burgess Seashore Book, Bible stories, Christmas pageant songs, painting an amaryllis bulb, etc.

And there was this, which was constructed while listening to Tchaikovsky...

Check out the rabbit ears on top. Handicrafts - check.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Year 1: Week 17


This "week" has lasted two weeks.  

The reason? Report cards. My school district adopted a new report card system this year, a very complicated system, which required me to spend 16 hours inputting data. It also meant that Gemma spent a lot of time reading independently, and that I spent a lot of time feeling guilty for ignoring my child.

It also meant that our "handicrafts" were pumpkin carving, pumpkin decorating, and cooking.









I know that pumpkin carving and decorating are not sloyd or knitting, but being able to use a knife and a hammer help develop fine motor skills (like other handicrafts), and are both important life skills. I know, I know. Handicrafts and life skills are not synonymous. The purpose of handicrafts is to produce something that is not just useful, but both useful and beautiful. Carved pumpkins aren't useful, but I have seen pumpkins which elevated pumpkin carving to an art form.

Gemma graduated from Fish to Barracuda, which means that, in the spring, she will be in the "big" pool. 

She drew Eleanor of Aquitaine...

In history, my husband read her Some Greek Colonies, which included the story of the Philaeni (fil-ee-nee). I had never heard the legend of how Carthage and Cyrene determined where their border would be, and how the Carthaginian brothers involved were buried alive at the border. 

Gemma didn't want to include the Philaeni being buried alive in her timeline book. She chose to include 1)Polyclitus' Discus Thrower (from our Art History reading), 2)Van Gogh, and 3)Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. It was fun to see Gemma realize, by looking at her timeline book, that Van Gogh and Beethoven were alive during the same century. 

In math, we completed Life of Fred: Liver chapter 2. This was one of our recent problems:
If Fred's pulse had been 160 beats/minute and had slowed to 90, how much was the decrease?

When I'm teaching her how to approach word problems, I always ask her what numbers are in the problem. Then I ask her what we need to do with those numbers; what process do we need to use? This problem used the word "decrease," so I asked her what, seeing that Fred's pulse had "slowed" down, and seeing that his pulse went from 160 to 90, did she think "decrease" meant we should do with those numbers. She answered "subtract." She completed the problem.

Additionally (math pun - get it?), I am assigning her pages in Mathematical Reasoning Level E, which is the 4th grade book. If we were doing Fred more often than once per week, I wouldn't do this. I'm doing it because it gives her practice with skills she knows (like the steps in long division, or the steps in the multiplication of two 2-digit numbers), and she enjoys the way math problems are like puzzles. 

Gemma went to CC, jiujitsu, and dance. We also started Christmas pageant rehearsal, which means learning lots of new songs. Coincidentally, our Bible passage this week was Luke 2:1-20.

She read several Aesop's Fables independently (because I put the book in her bookshelf) and narrated them just because I asked her what she read about.

She read her Old Testament passage, psalm, and parable. (We have yet to commit to a poem for recitation this term, though we've read lots of poems from Nature in Verse.)

We listened to our hymn of the term - All Creatures of Our God and King.

Hymn Study... The way I understand Charlotte Mason believed it should be done was that children should learn to recite the verses, one hymn per term. The way AO is scheduled, a different hymn is learned every month, but families can study them the way they choose. Some people do one hymn per month, but choose hymns they sing in church. I chose to learn one hymn we sing in church per term. One hymn per term seemed doable, while a hymn per month seemed ambitious and daunting. The way things actually work out, we do learn more than one hymn per term. For example, Gemma has been practicing playing two hymns on the piano - Jesus Lover of My Soul and A Mighty Fortress is Our God - to play at an upcoming social after church.

For picture study, she chose Van Gogh's The Bedroom.

There were other readings. She sang her foreign language songs, and she practiced cursive. As always, there are several other things we did, things I'm forgetting at the moment, but I'm going to let Week 17 be, and move forward into Week 18...